Human Impact on Animal Wildlife: Their Habitat
Humans have negatively impacted animal wildlife and their habitats. What can we do to bring awareness and help change these devastating effects? Sadly it is estimated that over the next 50 years 30% of United States animal species are at risk of disappearing due to human actions and activities. Humans have negatively impacted animal wildlife through three main factors: loss of habitat, pollution, and global warming, as reported by the National Wildlife Federation. First we will explore how humans have disrupted the animal habitats then look at pollution effects and lastly global warming all which have destructive consequences to the animal wildlife.We can all relate to how the sightings of bears, moose, deer, coyotes and wild turkeys have become more common place.
The town in which I live North of Boston, I have seen deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, and fox in my own backyard. The reason is that the forest that once was their habitat is no longer. Habitat destruction forced these animals to find other areas to call their home.The primary threat to the survival to wildlife in the United States is the loss of animal habitat. According to the National Wildlife Federation there are three major kinds of habitat loss; habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, and habitat degradation. Habitat destruction is a result of humans clearing of lands, filling in wetlands, mowing fields and cutting down trees for the ever growing spread of the human population. Humans have created habitat fragmentation, by dividing the land by roads and development that result in not having large enough pieces of forest for animal territory to find food and mates.
This fragmentation makes it difficult for migratory species, which have migratory routes. Habitat degradation is the due to human disruption of the ecosystem which has resulted in wildlife habitats that can no longer support wildlife.While the U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show the latest report of the forest land has been stable since 1907. Stability does not mean there is no change in forest land area. There have been shifts from agriculture to forests and vice versa.
Pollution is a major negative factor effecting animal wildlife. Pollution shows up on many different fronts such as ocean litter, pesticides and fertilizers, air pollution, and noise and light pollution. Uses of pesticides and fertilizers in farming and agriculture have increased by 26 times over the past 50 years. These have been serious environmental consequences. I’m sure we can all remember four years ago when the oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, sending 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. This caused a wildlife disaster which is still struggling today. Still today visions of birds covered in oil still haunt my memory.
This was unintended but none the less humans are to blame. Disturbingly in the northern Pacific Ocean an underwater garbage dump of solid waste the size of Texas has been discovered! Sadly National Geographic has reported that a second major ocean waste dump has also been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean.Although the Natural Resources Defense Council has implemented the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act many “Anti-Environmental Budget Riders” are trying to reverse many years of environmental progress. As recent as January 13th the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 was released and riders were included in the bill. An example is that the Environmental Protection Agency is permanently prevented from requiring the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.Our planet is warming faster now than anytime over the past 10 thousand years. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 25% of all animals worldwide could be extinct in 100 years if the warming continues! Human activity is the cause for the Earth getting hotter.
Primarily driven by two actions; the burning of fossil fuel releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air and as a smaller contribution from clear cutting forests known as deforestation which results in less trees to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2). The warmer climates have disrupted the animal wildlife migration patterns, it has caused the animals to migrate approximately one mile further north per year to maintain their normal climate temperatures.The opposition argues that the human generated greenhouse gas emissions are too small to considerably change the Earth’s climate. According to the U.N’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) there is no consensus that temperatures are increasing at an accelerating rate or that we are headed to a climate catastrophe. Warming temperature over the last 15 years has no significant change according to the IPCC’s climate models.As you can see animal wildlife has suffered greatly at the hands of humans whether intended or not.
We have continually taken, destroyed, and contaminated their habitant to a point where some areas will no longer support their lives. We have polluted the air, land, and water in ways that has either killed, maimed, or stressed their existence. Lastly with the threat of climate change we may have already created a condition that has permanently destroyed environments that has and will continue to result in many species becoming extinct.We can all help start to reverse these effects before it is too late, no matter how small. We can recycle more, plant a tree, use less pesticides on our lawns, drive hybrid vehicles, or by getting involved in larger organized movements. Such as, preserving open space in your communities, protest deforestation, engage government officials and support passing of policies that limit carbon dioxide (CO2) and controls on pollution.